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Come All Ye Sutta-Men of Old!

A translation (very old — early) and discussion of Digha Nikaya #27 called The Dialogue Primeval can be found at: ../../dhamma-vinaya/misc/dn/dn.27.edmn.misc.htm

Note, in the Note that follows:
the dsicussion of the Sautrantikas "Suta-men". I think I sense a previous birth!

Come then all ye sutta-men of old! Let us regroup and taking our stand on the firm ground of the Suttas give renewed momentum to this great Dhamma.

Here is a bit from an off-line discussion with a student considering a paper to be presented to a teacher who is a Tebetan Buddhist and who states that Buddhism improved after the death of the Buddha. I have edited the discussion slightly.

I have a concern that you may actually have picked a topic that comes down to a straight-out confrontation with this teacher, and may result, as a consequence, in danger to your grade-point average.

This statement of the Buddha's (that "Well taught by me is the Dhamma.") is the cornerstone of any argument against any teaching calling itself Buddhism that teaches using methods a. not included in the suttas, and b. in contradiction with the suttas (for example "crazy wisdom" where every kind of imoral behavior (lies, injury, theft) is permitted under the heading of trying to save another.) How come? Because it is a contradiction of the teaching at a fundamental level: going out and doing what the teacher of the system says not to do and further thinking that it is correct, and further thinking that it is better. Because it is not within the scope of what the Buddha taught, it is not Buddhism to begin with, because it does not teach by example, it's not correct methodology and does not and will not work, and because it does not work and the original system does work, it is not better.

For an individual to say: "I have a system here which is better than that system there" that individual would have to understand the system he thought was inferior in every single aspect. Otherwise how could he make such a statement? If he made such a statement with reference to this Dhamma, he would be calling himself an Arahant. Calling himself an Arahant he would have demonstrated the fact that the system as taught was sufficient to bring one to Arahantship without anything extra. Stating that he was not claiming to be Arahant would be admitting that he did not understand the system completely and would invalidate his statement that he could know when some other system was better than this one. He is simply making a judgment, from a bias based on a belief that a system of his own, which he had had all along, was right and everything else was wrong. This would be holding on to views. This is a contradiction of the First Truth and a statement that he is not even a Streamwinner (he has not broken sakkayaditthi). Prior to being a streamwinner one cannot even say one knows and sees the system, let alone has accomplished it's ends.


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